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ASIFA-Hollywood 2D Expo Makes Points

ASIFA-Hollywood organizers were pleased with the turnout and reception to its first 2D Expo Pencils Not Pixels, a one-day symposium and conference for traditional animators, held June 26, 2004, from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm at Woodbury University in Burbank, California. The event featured meetings, screenings, panels, filmmakers, networking, grants, sketchbooks, inspiration, software, books, discussion, drawings and paintings.

A good mixture of high-profile animators and independents populated the panels that included topics covered topics: "2-D The Next Direction," "Flash Animation," "Doing It Yourself," "Distribution/Promotion" and "They Still Show 2-D, Dont They?

One of the highlights was a sneak peak at Pixar animator Jim Capobiancos 2D short film-in-progress, LEONARDO, which in pencil test form, already surpasses many finished shorts exhibited at recent festivals, especially in terms of story and its charming style.

A modest-sized exhibit room featured handpicked exhibitors, including bookseller Stuart Ng, animators Stephen Silver and Bob Harper, The Animation Show DVD promoters, software from DigiCel and Bauhaus, ANIMATION MAGAZINE plus the ASIFA-Hollywood booth to promote the animation preservation project and take consignments to sell artists sketchbooks and art materials.

After the panels it was time for screening Unsold Pilots, 2D shows that have not yet made it, but still perhaps are waiting for the right broadcaster to be born or a ripple in the trend tide to lap up a few of them.

Not running panels against each other allowed attendees to feel a sense of community, network and thoroughly check out the exhibits. Blogs and discussion in chatrooms about the 2D event is positive and upbeat. However, it was a long time commitment, especially for a Saturday.

ASIFA-Hollywood had suspected its annual Animation Expo and Anifest for the past few years amidst competition from the growing number of trade shows and downturn in marketing support from studios and companies. The smaller scale proved a successful test case, according to ASIFA board member Jerry Beck, who championed the event. Beck said he was quite happy with the turnout. The organization covered its costs largely due to the support from the venue and he said he believes the group can achieve more with a publicity campaign and other factors for future events.

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